Veterans Appeal Court Decision Against Overhauling VA
On June 25, 2008, Senior Federal District Court Judge Samuel Conti issued his decision in the landmark case brought on behalf of veterans suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. In his decision, Judge Conti held that it is “clear to the Court” that “the VA may not be meeting all of the needs of the nation’s veterans.” Nonetheless, Judge Conti concluded that the power to remedy this crisis lies with the other branches of government, including Congress and the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, holding VA’s failures to meet veterans’ needs are “beyond the power of this Court” and would “call for a complete overhaul of the VA system.” Plaintiffs seek review in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of Judge Conti’s Decision, and seek an expedited hearing in the matter.
For information about the lawsuit, please go to www.veteransptsdclassaction.org
The importance of this appeal is underscored by the fact that a serious suicide epidemic among veterans continues to exist. Meanwhile, VA continues to turn away suicidal veterans, as shown by the recent case of Lucas Senescall in Spokane Washington. The flood of veterans with mental health problems will continue to increase as the wars go on.
This is because, as a recent Army study found, repeat deployments increase the risk of PTSD by 50 percent, above and beyond what we are already seeing from veterans discharged from the first few years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In his decision, Judge Conti found that many veterans are in fact suffering, and that the VA is the cause of much of that suffering. For these reasons, Plaintiffs believe they should continue to fight, that their cause is valid, and that Judge Conti was incorrect in holding that the courts are without power to grant veterans a remedy.
* Paul Sullivan, Veterans for Common Sense, (202) 558-4553
* Robert M. Handy, Veterans United for Truth, (805) 455-5259
* Gordon P. Erspamer, Arturo J. González, and Heather A. Moser Morrison & Foerster LLP, Lead Counsel, (415) 268-7000
* Sid M. Wolinsky, Ron Elsberry, and Kasey Corbit, Disability Rights Advocates, (510) 665-8644